Take a walk along any crowded railway platform or foreign currency exchange center, you will find him – either carrying a baggage stuffed with homemade delicacies and pickles or talking loud over a mobile phone. Go, talk to him and he will give you an opinion on anything and everything. Placing one hand over his oil dripping head and the other over his belly, he would laugh aloud at regularly fixed intervals. You can call him malayalee; better known as “Mallu” all the world over and “Malabari” in the Middle East.
Mallus are always a sight to watch; especially when they are out of Kerala. One thing that Mallus deliberately boast about is of their literacy rate. The civilized intelligentsia of the state make it a point to ensure that that their kids are convent educated. Once the education is over, they are ready for an exodus-to destinations expanded all over the globe.
One can spot them amongst those software techies in the US or nurses in the UK. In case they are a little less educated, they would be placed behind the glass counter full of Seiko watches at the Dubai airport.
The gulf returned king makers who return periodically to recruit young nephews and delinquent cousin brothers for the Middle East job markets are the nerves and sinews of the brotherhoods of the malayalee boys.
Well! It is for sure that all Malayalees are not Mallus but all Mallus are malayalees. If you can see a vehicle parked along the pavement with a dusty window glass bearing a hand drawn caricature of a cupid’s arrow; be sure, it is of a malayalee. A lady wearing kilos and kilos of gold ornaments all over her body is undoubtedly again a Mallu. In corporates, it is easy to pick out a Mallu form the whole team-indeed the heavily mother tongue influenced English is the major contributing reason. Thanks to the Cuticura powder, they manage to make their presence noticeable with a powder plastered face.
Despite of all of these Mallus are respected all over the world. Their flexibility in the work environments and ability to adapt to any kind of topographies gives them the tag of “most wanted” in the job markets across the globe. No matter where they are or what the others think, Mallus live with their customs and traditions.
Finally, they visit their homeland once in two or three years, now rich enough to invest money in the real estate business, marry girls and take them away. Meanwhile they construct bungalows in their home towns, hiring some Tamilian or Biharis workers; to enjoy a retired life at home enjoying the fruits of their hardships at the foreign land. This story continues…Brain drain increases, but more revenue flows in each year.
Kerala, when offered to the world is a package wrought of color, traditions dainty foods, coconut lagoons and beaches; where green and light,100 % literacy and Ayurveda ,boats and elephants ,all find their place- God’s own country, the brochures tell you. But beyond all of these, there is a magic in this land that keeps each NRI Mallu coming back to his homeland-the reason why any Malayalee would say “only if you have lived here will you understand what this place is all about”.